One of the club’s hidden gems is a Japanese styled anagama wood fired kiln nestled in Horokiwi. One of very few in New Zealand, it is fired annually.
The firings draw a hard core of devotees attracted by the firing process, the hospitality, the venue and, importantly, the often exciting and unexpected results that emerge when the kiln is opened.
First fired on 18 March 2006, construction of the kiln started in 2004. It was initiated by Richard Stratton with the support of Andy Hope. Their vision was made possible by the generosity of Graeme and June Houston who made land available for its construction on their Te Haunui property in Horokiwi. Graeme also ensured that the kiln was nourished with a steady supply of heavily discounted firewood. Shige Ohashi, a veteran of over 50 anagama firings in Japan, produced a detailed set of plans and provided technical oversight for the project. The building of the kiln and its shelter was the product of the work of an energetic group of enthusiasts comprising Wellington Potters’ Association members and a number of non-members (most of whom were non-potters) who got caught up in the spirit of the enterprise.
A core group of pyromaniacs plan the firings; maintain the kiln and its shelter; clean kiln shelves; prepare firewood; and load the kiln. It comprises Mal Sole, Andy Rattenbury, Peter Rumble, Megumi Ogo, Dave Marshall, Roger Pearce and Alan Ross (Anagama Coordinator) – the majority of whom act as firing shift leaders. This group is augmented each year by other volunteers.
Plans of the kiln
(click to enlarge images)
Prior to his return to Japan in 2016, Shige Ohashi was the principal firing master for most of the firings. Find out about Shige Ohashi’s Firing Philosophy.